HOBSONS BAY has gradually been getting his act together and with improvement likely from his recent run behind Storm Brig at Newcastle he can land this for Howard Johnson's very expensive six-year-old. It's difficult to know what to make of Murrell, who followed a very promising second at Stratford in October with a poor run at Ayr last month. River Dragon has shown glimpses of ability but will need to find more improvement as will Drop The Hammer, three times a winner on the Flat but well beaten on both starts over timber. Old Style showed little in a Warwick bumper last month but his pedigree suggests he can do better over timber.
China House (IRE) 100-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear and keen, hampered 7th, headway approaching 7th, weakened after 4 out, 9th of 17, well behind Moonlight Drive (10-12) at Wetherby 2m 6f nov hdl (4) gs.
Direct Approach (IRE) 150-1 (10-12) Not fluent, mid-division, mistake 1st, ridden and struggling in rear 6th, tailed off and pulled up soon after, in a race won by Habbie Simpson (11-5) at Warwick 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Nov, 17 ran.
Hobsons Bay (IRE) 33-1 (11-3) Held up mid-division, headway approaching and hampered on inner 5th, went 3rd before 4 out, chased winner from 3 out until weakened run-in, 4th of 16, 14l behind Storm Brig (11-10) at Newcastle 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft.
Murrell (IRE) 25-1 (11-5) Held up mid-division on inner, weakened from 7th, 14th of 17, well behind Ballabriggs (11-12) at Ayr 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gd in Jan.
Newgatehopeful 250-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, headway after 4th, weakened after next, tailed off when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Mic's Delight (11-8) at Leicester 2m 4f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) hvy, 12 ran.
Old Style (IRE) 25-1 (10-12) Held up in last and raced wide, headway over 6f out, weakened over 3f out, 7th of 18, 21l behind Hildisvini (10-12) at Warwick 2m NH flat (6) gs in Jan.
River Dragon (IRE) 20-1 (10-12) Towards rear, went a remote 4th after 4 out, never dangerous, 5th of 17, 38l behind Moonlight Drive (10-12) at Wetherby 2m 6f nov hdl (4) gs.
Another Mystery 200-1 (10-8) In rear, weakened from 5th, 6th of 11, well behind Charminster (11-4) at Sedgefield 2m 1f nov hdl (4) gs in Jan.
Drop The Hammer 28-1 (10-5) In rear and mistakes, soon struggling, tailed off before 4 out, 7th of 10, well behind Whispering Death (10-12) at Doncaster 2m nov hdl (4) gd in Jan.